A group of supporters of the Forest Education Centre met yesterday to discuss timelines and visions. For all of us who want to save and repurpose the building, we recognize the need to widen our audience and explore all the possibilities to find its best new use. This is going to take some time, and thus our advocacy is focusing on engaging the Park Board by outlining to them the immense value of maintaining this building as well as halting the decision for now so that they can explore other options.
Any new use will increase the Forest Centre's value as a heritage building. Logically the building will become, once again, a "learning centre," the use for which it was designed 40 years ago. First choice for tenants of the major part of the building could be groups involved with environmental sustainability; a second tier could be arts or cultural uses that would complement VanDusen Gardens' primary role.
A feasibility study would give potential partners an idea of how much money it would take to reverse its current state of long-deferred maintenance. That would set the stage for a Request for Proposals, seeking new occupants.
Stay tuned ... (don't touch that dial!)
The next public event that will include references to the Forest Centre is the tweetup at EastVanLove Volume 8: Journey to Now, at SFU Woodwards on April 11. Michael Kluckner, who has been involved with the awareness campaign about the Forest Centre, is the co-host.
A terrific set of pictures of the interior of the Forest Centre can be viewed on Jason Vanderhill's photoset.